It’s a dilemma that many manufacturing organizations face: adopt a process-focused or product-focused model operation? While both have their fair share of pros and cons, they’re both opposites when it comes down to the practice of managing a company. In this post, we’ll delve deeper into this dilemma that many organizations face. First, let’s start with a brief overview of what defines a product vs. process manufacturing focus.
PRODUCT VS. PROCESS FOCUS 101
Let’s kick things off by breaking down the basics between product and process focused organizations. Here’s a look at that and more.
Organizations that take a product approach usually formulate a business model that determines how products or product groups are produced. Also, often known as the “income approach,” the profitability of companies that operate this way is primarily dictated by how closely they can follow the established business model and achieve repeatability. Think of it like this: Companies focused on products are trying to make their goods faster and better than their rivals to gain a competitive advantage in the market – and it’s the product that drives it all. The people and resources are organized accordingly.
A process approach, conversely, involves the processes by which products are made. These processes start at the very beginning of the product development life cycle and include the likes of brainstorming and conceptualizing, before moving on to other essential pillars. One of the key differences of the process approach is the focus it puts on separate – yet interconnected – teams that all come together for the greater good of an organization. In order for the process approach to become successful, it requires all team members to buy into the overall strategy and do their part. Over time, processes are revised and fine-tuned to meet new challenges and customer demands. This approach puts more of an emphasis on the people responsible for creating the end product and improving the aspects of development that matter to a company’s bottom line.
Structure and Staff Size
In a product-focused organization, the structure relies more on the product groups, while a process-focused organization relies more on a centralized, aligned structure. Product-focused organizations tend to have small staffs, while process-focused organizations employ a large number of people.
Key themes with both process and product-focused organizations are consistent, quality results – yet it’s how that result is achieved that is the big difference. Both processes are also dedicated to continuous improvement efforts, though in a process-focused environment, such efforts are more contingent on groups or teams of employees coming together.
Product-focused organizations typically take already established business methods and strategies and implement them to a degree where profit margins meet revenue goals. A process-focused organization, conversely, leaves more room for innovation since many more employees are joining together and plugging in on particular tasks. There’s also much more collaboration and free-thinking in the process approach, which can lead to higher engagement and innovation. A product approach utilizes teamwork as well but tends to follow an established plan rather than develop a new one to improve operations.
What is your current organization functioning as? Is it product-focused or process-focused? It’s typically an either/or choice and not something that an organization can have both of. Perhaps you’re in a position to experiment with both methods to see which one better suits your organization? Or maybe you’re looking to change your model to sustain new growth. It’s neither right nor wrong, yet it’s up to your organization to adopt the one that puts it in the best position for success.
The Mindset and Flexible Packaging
The direction that industrial packaging is headed tells us that you might very well be making these changes as a matter of course anyway. Consider starting now and be ahead the curve instead of someone else dictating the terms of your future. We’ve written various blogs about the future of packaging, which is undoubtedly transitioning to more flexible, sustainable, and end-user-friendly (yes, everyday consumers are driving this trend for B2B markets) packaging solutions.
With our disruptive packaging, we have positioned ourselves to embrace—truly shape—the future of bulk packaging. We offer the Smart® Pail, bag-in-box, and UN-certified bag-in-box options for the safe, efficient storage and transport of semi-viscous, solid, and some liquid currently shipped in plastic pails. The sustainability profile of these products is impressive and various industries—chemical, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food & beverage, and medical—benefit from the exceptional quality, function, and performance this flexible packaging provides.
If you are ready to take a strategic step forward and plan your company’s future success with a new flexible packaging line, we’re happy to help. Contact us to get the conversation started.